With a digital camera, the worry about cost of film, developing negatives and printing some unprintable photos was gone. Earlier, the worry about film was a restriction on shooting but with the dawn of the digital age, that was gone. With a DSLR that could shoot at a respectable 8FPS, worries evaporated. Kabini and Bandipur were too far away for a day trip and also a little heavy on the pockets. That is when I discovered the forests around Malampuzha.
Most of the initial forays were in the Kava area. In summer, as the reservoir dried we'd drive inside it, otherwise we drove around the road along the edge of the reservoir. It was most often raptors and water birds that I 'noticed'. Perhaps their larger size and visibility in the open spaces ensured that I noticed them.
Once out of the reservoir our eyes were now scouring the trees, bushes and electric lines. That was an even bigger treasure trove of birds.
That was then my birding eyes really opened. It suddenly dawned on me that I had been missing so much. My jungle trips were much too tilted in favour of the mammals, that birds were considered incidental. Everything changed from then on. Malampuzha transformed me. I realized, unlike mammals, I did not have to look for birds. One or two were always around. It was hard to avoid them,in fact. It was just that we took them so much for granted.
My birding eyes then realized that there were little patches of forests on the side of the road around the reservoir. It was time to explore a little further, but that is for the next post!